ACCC reveals jump in CVC acquired from NBN, expects faster broadband speeds

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NBN Co workers arrange fibre-optic cables used in the National Broadband Network in west Sydney, July 11, 2013. Reuters/Daniel Munoz

Consumers can expect to get better broadband experience with the help of a new wholesale pricing on the National Broadband Network (NBN). The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) latest Wholesale Market Indicators report released on Thursday shows that the introduction of new wholesale pricing has led to a substantial improvement to the amount of broadband capacity that users are getting from internet retailers.

The report highlights an increase in Connectivity Virtual Circuit (CVC) acquired, from 1.11 megabits per second (Mbps) to 1.53 Mbps per user since the September 2017 quarter - a jump of 38 percent. It also suggests that broadband retailers managed to allocate more capacity, allowing more users to enjoy better broadband experience even during the busiest periods of the day.

The report also includes early signs of a bump in users who take up higher-speed 50 Mbps plans because of lower wholesale pricing offered on the NBN. There has been a jump in the percentage of 50 Mbps services, which has gone up to 4.6 percent in the December quarter. The new wholesale pricing for 50 Mbps services started at the end of the quarter on December 14.

ACCC chair Rod Sims said they were pleased to see such a huge jump in the CVC acquired by retailers from NBN Co this quarter. He said that this level of CVC would allow faster broadband speeds and hopefully less congestion during peak evening periods.

"NBN Co's response to retailers' concerns about CVC pricing seems to have had an impact on the amount of CVC being acquired, which we believe will benefit consumers through better quality broadband,” Sims said. He added that they hope NBN Co and retailers can continue to work together to maintain the level of CVC needed for a good customer experience. By the end of last year, five access seekers were connected to all 121 points of interconnection (POIs).

Minister for Communications Senator Mitch Fifield has reacted to the report, saying consumers are getting more broadband for their money thanks to the faster and cheaper rollout of the NBN. “There are now more than three million Australians enjoying greater capacity on their NBN connection, and the Coalition’s policy is helping keep internet bills down for Australian families,” Fifield said.

The Turnbull government previously announced new protections to ensure broadband customers obtain the level of service they expect from retail service providers as they transition to the network.

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